Michelle Joni is always, she says, “looking for an opportunity to dress up and celebrate,” so why not Purim? Considered the most joyous of Jewish holidays, Purim celebrates an act of heroism by a courageous biblical queen with costumes (heavy on royal purple) and food (okay, all the celebrations involve food).
Joni and friends arrived Friday at Katz’s deli on Glinda the Good Bus – Joni’s home until recently – stocked with homemade hamentashen (a traditional Purim treat) and sporting a DJ setup on top of the bus. They came ready to dance – but not before fueling up with pastrami from the popular deli.
Joni mentions that she has “fond memories of growing up Jewish” and was inspired to celebrate Purim by her new friend Susannah Perlman, who she credits with making the hamentashen.
“When I met her, she was dressed as a dreidel,” Joni recalls.
DJ’s Deon Phillips and Flo Pilot provided the tunes, mixing in songs about “Queens” and “Haters” in keeping with the story of Purim.
Passersby stopped to dance with, among others, Lucy Hall, Mike Schwab and Vicki Winters. Winters was particularly happy with the choice of venue, as she had happy memories of meals at Katz’s with her family.
Not everyone was happy with their choice, though, and eventually the police came by to notify them of the noise complaints and tell them to move along.
“We just packed it up and headed down to Delancey Street , where we danced, sang “Havah Negilah” and recited the Shabbos prayer,” reported Joni later. “We were joined by a unicorn and other costumed friends, who were dancing in the street behind the bus.”
“What I am trying to do is bring the community together and celebrate life, ” Joni relates. “To make everyday a holiday and give people a chance to express themselves.”
Look for future events (including a Passover celebration) on Instagram @michellejoni and @glindathegoodbus